New Delhi: A day after cancelling his visit to India over his relationship with terrorist Dawood Ibrahim, former Pakistani cricketer Javed Miandad on Saturday broke his silence over the issue, saying he should be looked at as a sportsperson, and nothing else.
Referring to the cause of the cancellation of his visit to witness the third ODI between India and Pakistan in the national capital, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official said that he wanted good relation between the two neighbours.
"I want good relations between India and Pakistan...cricket between the two countries must continue," said the former cricketer.
Miandad had announced the cancellation of his trip on Friday even after getting an Indian visa as there was strong opposition in the country to the government's move to grant visa to the former cricketer over his relationship with Dawood. Miandad's son is married to the daughter of the wanted terrorist.
On Friday, reports in Pakistani media had said that Miandad had cancelled his tour over security concerns and political controversy.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena questioned the decision to grant visa to Miandad, pointing out that he was related to Dawood, who is accused of terror activities in India.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut welcomed Miandad's decision of not coming to India. "I welcome the move of Javed Miandad not coming to India. If he had come to India he would have had to face protests and there would have been security problem. It's a public victory, not a government victory. Across the party line it was clear that Javed Miandad would have faced protests if he had come to India. It's a public victory," said Raut.
Even Congress leader Jagdambika Pal had questioned the propriety of welcoming Miandad. Pal said that since Miandad was related to an internationally proscribed terrorist and so he should not be allowed to come to India.
"Giving visa to his (Dawood Ibrahim's) relative is wrong. We still consider Dawood Ibrahim the most wanted and have been asking Pakistan to send him back. Giving visa to his relative will hurt the sentiments of people in India," Pal said on Wednesday.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid had clarified that Miandad was granted visa as he fulfilled the criteria and his integrity was not in doubt. "I think it's more than clear that we haven't ever and nobody in Pakistan has offered for that matter in anywhere in the world put a question mark on Javed Miandad, that he has a personal involvement or that his integrity as far as these issues are concerned is doubtful etc. So should we have just been... said 'Well we think emotionally. You are not to come". We made categories, those categories included 'official of Pakistan Cricket Board' and of course people who wanted to come and had return tickets etc," Khurshid said earlier on Friday.
Due to Miandad's family ties with Dawood - who is wanted in India in connection with the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts case - there had been reports before a cricket series in 2005 that any requests for a visa by the former Pakistan cricketer could be turned down by the Indian government.